A Primeval Punch: Folk artists set stage on fire

Sreeja Arangottukara performing Mannathi Theyyam, a one act play in the National Folk Art Festival Kerala at Kanakakunnu  B P Deepu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For early birds at the National Folk Festival venue at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds, there was something magical on offer on Friday. Pounding at the drums hanging from their necks, a bunch of folk artistes exhibited a stellar performance, careening along to the magnetic tempo of accompanying folk music. They were recreating tappeta gullu, an age-old art form from Andhra Pradesh which, it is believed, was traditionally performed to bring rain. And a short while ago, a dancer-duo from Rajasthan had performed the highly enigmatic traditional folk art form ghoomar, twisting and twirling to the vibrant notes of the accompanying music.

Folk artists from different states set the stage on fire with their tough rehearsals, offering a sneak peek into the grand visual treat awaiting the city residents this weekend. The four-day event which began on Thursday was organised by the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board. A visual extravaganza is assured with more than twelve dance forms from different parts of the country including bamboo dance of Mizoram, folk art ‘pooja kunita’ of Karnataka, the bihu dance of Assam, set to be staged.

For connoisseurs of music, the soul-stirring and mystic music of Bengal, the baul music will be performed by noted musician Goutham Das Baul. A grandiose performance by noted musician Mame Khan which blends the essence of Rajasthani folk music and Sufi music is also on the cards. The classic Rajasthani folk songs ‘kesariya balam’ and ‘padharo mhare desh re’ will be rendered with all its charm at the fest. Patayani performances replete with twelve patayani kolams, folk dances of Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim are other highlights.

The Malayalam folk song ‘aadiyillallo anthamillallo’ is also getting a fresh, contemporary spin. A magical blend of tradition and contemporary style is being given to the pakkanar music by folklore singer C J Kuttappan and playback singer Jassie Gift. “Folk songs are now getting a contemporary twist and we are trying to experiment here. The song will also have Kannada and Telugu mix. It will be a fusion of the modern and traditional styles,” said Jassie who composed the new version.

“Music is not just about enjoyment. It becomes complete when you experience it. Folk songs offer the comfort of a mother’s lullaby. Music should be like that. Efforts have been made to infuse all this into the song,” said folklore singer Kuttappan. On listening closely, one can read the ‘Big Bang’ theory in ‘aadiyillallo anthamillallo’ and that has been brought forth in the new version, the musicians add. Around 30 dancers are set to groove to the music which is set to add more drama. Madhu Samudra and Sajeev Samudra have done the choreography.

Around 500 artistes from across the country have come together to liven up the second edition of National Folk Festival of Kerala which is being hosted at three venues in the city. Nishagandhi in Kanakakunnu, Manaveeyam Veedhi and the Institute of Engineers Hall are the venues where the folk art forms will be staged. Seminars on the need to preserve these art forms, many of which are on the verge of extinction, will also be held.

By Aathira Haridas | Express News Service | Published: 16th February 2018 11:03 PM |

Last Updated: 17th February 2018 03:13 AM

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